Here we are almost at the end of the year, which means that awards season has officially begun. Several regional critics’ groups have already named their best-of picks for 2013, but let’s be honest; the only movie awards that anyone really cares about are the Oscars and, to a much lesser extent, the Golden Globes – the latter only as an alleged predictor for the Oscars, and because it has the most entertaining broadcast ceremony. On Thursday, speaking on behalf of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, presenters Zoe Saldana, Aziz Ansari and Olivia Wilde announced the nominations for the 2014 Golden Globe Awards.
I must say, I’m disappointed. Not because the nominated movies seem unworthy of awards, but rather the opposite. Most of them feel like safe picks. The Globes have a history of making truly bizarre nominations. Remember back to 2010, when the critically-reviled flops ‘The Tourist‘ and ‘Burlesque‘ both picked up Best Picture nominations? That’s the kind of madness the Globes are famous for. Unfortunately, I don’t see any of that demented genius on display this year.
I don’t have the time (or frankly the interest) to list off all the nominations here, but this is what some of the major categories look like:
Best Motion Picture: Drama
- ’12 Years a Slave’
- ‘Captain Phillips’
’12 Years a Slave’ is already buzzed as an Oscar front-runner. ‘Gravity’ and ‘Captain Phillips’ are both respectable populist choices that will probably also score Academy Award nominations (though seem less likely to win in any major categories). ‘Philomena’ is a well-reviewed indie hit.
If there’s any minor surprise here, it’s that the HPFA remembered Ron Howard’s ‘Rush’. That one had some awards talk when it was initially released, almost all of which dissipated when the movie bombed at the box office.
Best Motion Picture: Musical or Comedy
- ‘American Hustle’
- ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’
- ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’
The Globes often have a peculiar definition of “Comedy or Musical.” Pretty much all of these picks could at least arguably be called dramas. Nevertheless, they’ve all received some fair share of critical respect. None of them are surprise nominations.
- Alfonso Cuaron, ‘Gravity’
- Paul Greengrass, ‘Captain Phillips’
- Steve McQueen, ’12 Years a Slave’
- Alexander Payne, ‘Nebraska’
- David O. Russell, ‘American Hustle’
I also wouldn’t be surprised if this Best Director list closely mirrors what we eventually see at the Oscars.
A couple of the acting nominees may be long shots for future glory (Kate Winslet in ‘Labor Day’, Julia Louis-Dreyfus in ‘Enough Said’), but none are too far out of left field.
Best Actor: Motion Picture Drama
- Chiwetel Ejiofor, ’12 Years a Slave’
- Idris Elba, ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’
- Tom Hanks, ‘Captain Phillips’
- Matthew McConaughey, ‘Dallas Buyers Club’
- Robert Redford, ‘All Is Lost’
Best Actress: Motion Picture Drama
- Cate Blanchett, ‘Blue Jasmine’
- Sandra Bullock, ‘Gravity’
- Judi Dench, ‘Philomena’
- Emma Thompson, ‘Saving Mr. Banks’
- Kate Winslet, ‘Labor Day’
Best Actor: Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
- Christian Bale, ‘American Hustle’
- Bruce Dern, ‘Nebraska’
- Leonardo DiCaprio, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’
- Oscar Isaac, ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’
- Joaquin Phoenix, ‘Her’
Best Actress: Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
- Amy Adams, ‘American Hustle’
- Julie Delpy, ‘Before Midnight’
- Greta Gerwig, ‘Frances Ha’
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus, ‘Enough Said’
- Meryl Streep, ‘August: Osage County’
Even in the television categories, we have a safe mix of shows that were previously honored (‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Downton Abbey’) and well-received newcomers (‘Masters of Sex’, ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’).
Best Drama Series
- ‘Breaking Bad’
- ‘Downton Abbey’
- ‘The Good Wife’
- ‘House of Cards’
- ‘Masters of Sex’
Best Comedy Series
- ‘The Bing Bang Theory’
- ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’
- ‘Modern Family’
- ‘Parks and Recreation’
Where are the truly “WTF?!” nominations this year? I half-expected to see ‘A Madea Christmas’ singled out for Best Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical, or the late Paul Walker given a token Best Actor nomination for ‘Fast & Furious 6′, for no other reason than that he died recently. The real list is kind of boring, if you ask me.
You can find the rest of the nominees on the official Golden Globes web site. The ceremony (which should still be fun) will air on January 12th, with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler returning to host.